(Yosemite) Half Dome Cables


Permit holders are responsible to understand and follow all the terms and conditions of the permit.

**Any resale or auction of permits will make the permit/contract null and void**

Permits will only be valid if the trip leader and/or alternate specified on the permit is part of the group and has valid ID to present.

Once you have printed your permit, group size cannot be changed, the permit cannot be cancelled and no refunds can be made. The $8 permit fee is fully refundable if you cancel your permit more than two days before the hiking date specified on your permit or if the cables are not up on the date for which your permit is valid.

Permit Availability

Trail Description

Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers. Despite an 1865 report declaring it was ""perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot,"" George Anderson reached the summit in 1875, in the process creating the predecessor to today's cable route. The 14 to 16-mile round-trip hike to Half Dome is not for you if you're out of shape or unprepared. You will be gaining elevation (a total of 4,800 feet) most of your way to the top of Half Dome. Most say the reward is worth the effort. Along the way, you'll encounter outstanding views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, Half Dome, and--from the subdome and summit--panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra.

Know Before You Go:

It is important to take your time on the Half Dome Cables and use good judgment. A slip or fall from the cables may result in serious injury or death. Rescue personnel may be hours away and/or unable to respond due to weather or other incidents occurring simultaneously.

Tips while using the cables:

  • Take your time and be patient with slower hikers.
  • Allow faster hikers to pass you (when possible).
  • Remain on the inside of the cables.
  • Many people find gloves helpful.
Most hikers take 10 to 12 hours to hike to Half Dome and back; some take longer. If you plan on hiking during the day, it's smart to leave around sunrise (or earlier) and have a non-negotiable turn-around time. For instance, if you haven't reached the top of Half Dome by 3:30 pm, you will turn around. Check for sunrise and sunset times before you hike. Hikers commonly struggle down the trail after dark because they do not have a flashlight. Regardless of day length, each person should carry a flashlight or headlamp with good batteries. Although the trail is well marked, you should be prepared with a good topographic map and compass and know how to use them.

Another easy way to make your hike enjoyable is to wear well broken-in boots with good ankle support and traction. Some of the most common injuries Half Dome hikers suffer are blisters and ankle injuries. Proper footwear is the best way to prevent these problems.

Always keep your food within arm's reach or on your back. Never leave food unattended. Do not leave packs at the base of the cables even if they do not contain food as marmots and squirrels will chew through straps for the salt content.

The summit of Half Dome is a dangerous place during a lightning storm. Check the weather forecast before your hike and try to reach the summit early in the day to avoid afternoon thunderstorms. If a storm appears nearby, do not continue to the summit and, if in the summit area, descend immediately while still using caution and patience while on the cables and steps.

The summit is typically 15*F (8*C) to 20*F (11*C) cooler than Yosemite Valley and windy conditions are common. Be prepared for cool temperatures and rain showers.

A few visitors each summer have problems with altitude sickness. Know how to recognize the early signs of altitude sickness.

For a short video on Half Dome Click Here

Flush toilets are available at the Vernal Fall Footbridge below Vernal Fall. Composting toilets are available near Emerald Pool above Vernal Fall, near the top of Nevada Fall, and in Little Yosemite Valley. The last potable water is at the Vernal Fall restroom below the waterfall. Springs, streams and the Merced River provide water above this point, but should be properly treated before drinking to remove pathogens.


A: Available for online reservation (click to book entry date)
L: Accepting Lottery Application (click to apply for the lottery)
W: Available at the Facility
R: Reserved
C: Closed
X: Not available
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